All higher education degrees recognised throughout Benelux


The official recognition of bachelor’s and master’s diplomas has now been extended to all higher education diplomas

‘An historic step’

Education ministers from all three of Belgium’s regions as well as from the Netherlands and Luxembourg have signed an agreement to recognise all higher education diplomas from the other two countries. This is the first such co-operation between three countries in the EU.

To continue studies or get a job in another country, applicants must get their locally earned degree recognised by the other country, which entails a lot of paperwork, fees and sometimes a months-long wait. In 2015, the Benelux countries agreed to automatically recognise each other’s bachelor’s and master’s diplomas.

Now that recognition is extended to PhDs and to so-called graduate degrees, which are earned from adult educational institutions. This means that a graduate of any of the three countries can continue their education or seek a job in the other countries without having to get their degree officially recognised.

“From now on, all graduates in Flanders can be sure that whatever level of diploma they have earned will be officially recognised in the Netherlands and Luxembourg,” said Flemish education minister Hilde Crevits. “This removes a serious stumbling block from crossing the border to study or work. This is an historic step and an example for all of Europe.”

Photo: Education minister Hilde Crevits speaking at the signing of the latest agreement between the Benelux countries

Educational system

The Flemish educational system is divided into two levels: primary (age six to 12) and secondary school (12 to 18). Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and 18.
Types - There are three educational networks in Flanders: the Flemish Community’s GO! network, and publicly funded education – either publicly or privately run.
Not enough space - In recent years, Flemish schools have been struggling with persistent teacher shortages and a growing lack of school spaces.
No tuition fees - Nursery, primary and secondary school are free in Flanders.

million school-going children in 2013


million euros Flemish education budget for new school infrastructures in 2013


percent of boys leaving secondary school without a diploma